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Political Education: WHO IS A PARTY AGENT ( Polling Agent) - Nigeria

Fadaka Louis

Party Agent ( Polling Agent) is an accredited official of a political party who oversees an election on behalf of a candidate.


They are critical STAKEHOLDERS on the voting process

The Role Agents play is very essential in providing an environment of transparency in the polling, sorting and counting process


 ROLES OF PARTY AGENTS

Polling Agents are representatives of the party/ Candidates who are to monitor / observe / witness the proceedings at each POLLING UNIT

PARTY Agent is the party Representative at each collation centre (very important person)

PARTY Representative is the party official at each point of distribution.

He or she is a witness to all aspect of the voting and counting processes at the polling venues where they have been deployed.

Prior to the commencement of voting at voting venues, he or she inspects the polling venues, polling booth, examine the polling venues, equipment and materials, examine the ballot box to ensure it empty, and to witness the sealing of the ballot box by presiding officer (PO).

He/She may through the polling officer challenge and/ or identify the identity of a voter.

He/She is there to witness the making of ballot papers for incapacitated voters.

He/She may through the PO challenge the rejection or acceptance of a cast ballot paper.



 NOTE:

Only party Agents appointed by political parties and accredited by INEC will be allowed into the polling, counting and collation centres.

Non attendance or the absence of party agents will not delay or invalidate the proceeding at the pooling, counting and collation centres.


 RIGHTS OF A PARTY AGENTS
- Unlimited access to the polling, counting and collation venues at all times.

- Observe the polling, counting and collation processes on behalf of their political parties st designated venues where they have been deployed.

- Ensure that polling, counting and collation processes are conducted with rules and regulations governing the processes

- File a Claim/ objection to any action which they consider contravenes the provisions of the election rules.


 EXPECTATIONS OF PARTY AGENTS

* Locate your polling units or Voting points before Election day

* Be at the polling Unit as Early as 7: 30AM

* Examine the ballot box and make sure its empty

* Inspect the voting booth and make sure its free of any material that can influence voters

* Observe the accreditation, Voting, Sorting, Counting, Collating of the Ballot and Declaration of Results

* Challenge/ Verify the identity of any voter ( this may be done through the presiding officer PO)



 EXPECTATION OF PARTY AGENT 2

Draw attention to breaches in electoral rules and regulations

Countersign the appropriate result forms at polling unit and collation centers

Party Agent must be at the RA centres as early as 7:00AM to witness the distribution of material and please go with a writing pad to write down the serial numbers of all ballot papers, result sheet and other's



 RETURNING OFFICER

A Returning Officer collates ( tabulates and sums up) the votes cast, announces the score of candidates and declares the winner in the election in a party constituency

Decides any question. Arising from or relating to unmarked ballots, rejected ballots, announcement of scores of candidates and the return of a winner.


 RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER (REC)

He/ She is the head of  INEC in a state, a position which confers on him / her the responsibility to oversee the activities of the commission in that state.


 COLLATION OFFICERS (COS)

He/ She collates and announces the votes scored by candidates at any of the levels of collation

 A. Registration Area/ Ward CO.

Collates and announces result from polling units within a Registration Area RA ward


 B. Local Government Area CO.

Announces results from the various Registration Area//wares for the various council, State assembly, Governorship, National Assembly and presidential Election at the LGA level).


 C. State Constituency CO

Collate and announces result from all the RAs/ LGAs within a state constituency for the state assembly election.  He shall also be the state constituency Returning officer in the state house of Assembly Election.

COLLATION OFFICERS ( CO) 2


D. Federal constituency CO

Collates and announces results from LGAs within a Federal Constituency. He/ She shall also be the Federal constituency Returning Officer in the election of the House of Representatives.


E. Senatorial District CO

Collates and announces result from LGAs within a Senatorial district. He/ She shall also be the Senatorial district Returning officer in the election to the Senate.


F. State CO

Collates and announces results from all LGAs within a state in the presidential and Governorship Elections. He/ She shall also be the Returning officer in the Governorship Election


 G. Chief Electoral Commissioner 

Collates and announces the results from all the states of the federation in the presidential Election and is the Returning officer in that election. This shall be the Chairman of INEC or his delegated Representative.



 COLLATION CENTRE

Collect a copy of the OU result sheet _ EC8a at the end of the result declaration, and also snap the result pasted on the wall at the PU_ EC60E

If there are discrepancies, the PU party Agent should inform the RA party who should raise an objection


 E_COLLATION & RESULTS TRANSMISSION 

Ensure that the PO enters the result into the eCollation  application installed on the card readers at the end of counting and declaration of result

If there is no network, he should be told to use the offline mode to enter the result and save it on the card reader

On the way to the ward collation centre, there may be network, so the PO transmits the result,

If there is no network, he proceeds to the RA, where there is a high possibility of network and transmit the result.

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